Ah, spring.

Spring, spring, spring, spring.

I’m finally convinced that it’s here in New England to stay.

Today was a perfect spring day, little bit of fog rolling in off of Narragansett Bay, next to no breeze, and bright sunshine making the birds sing.

I had the run of the year so far. I was hurting something awful from working in the yard all day Saturday. Out of shape engineers should not be allowed to have yards, or should be required to pay higher insurance premiums for them. In any case, I was hurting on Sunday when I took the boys over to the Seaport to pick up a membership and wander around before tourist season really begins. My thighs and back were totally tight.

This morning felt no different, but the day was so pretty I had to go and at least make the effort. After about a mile or so, my legs loosened up, and my breathing got into the groove. So I stretched the run. As I was coming into the last half mile or so, and thinking about walking a bit, since I’d gone further than planned, when I saw a skinny guy merging on the same road as I was, probably headed for the gym and a shower.


So in an instant I go from being completely contented to wanting to beat the guy back to the locker room. Instant rivalry with a man who I have never before in my life met. My weakness, wanting to walk and catch my breath instantly becomes my shame, and there is no way, shape or form that is going to get me to pause for a breath and let him pass me. If he wants to knock off a fat man this morning, he’s going to have to earn it.

Can I Kick It?” asks the Tribe. “Yes I can,” I answer.

Digging deep, I find one last inner reserve to pour into my shoes. I’m jumping onto the seawall, stretching out the strides while trying to stay on the 9″ wide section of concrete and avoid falling onto the rock beach below, narrowly missing slipping in the gull poop. I’m studiously avoiding looking back, not wanting to see the guy’s eyes as he’s breathing down my neck, not wanting to give him the split second opening to realize that I’m weak, that I’m on my last ounce of gas, that I have nothing more to give and all he needs to break me like a china teapot is to turn on the juice just a little bit.

I know I shouldn’t be this competitive. I have absolutely no chops with which to back it up, but I can’t help it. My buddy the Troll is vicious when he’s on a bike. If there’s anyone up ahead, he’s grinding the big ring until he dies or passes. I fight just too hold on to Troll’s wheel. I’ve got the same “Small Dog” syndrome in sneaks.

So I’ve been pushing myself for about a quarter mile, and come to a turn to go over the bridge back to the island and Gym 109. I steal a glance over my shoulder, expecting to see the guy breathing down my neck.

He’s 100 or so yards back.

Holy crap, I ran skinny guy into the ground.

Or more likely, he was doing base miles, didn’t need to get any speed work in.

Regardless, I was feeling good on the remaining trot back to the gym. It’s not often that I can stave off someone passing. Plus, I extended the run I had planned, and felt good, ran out the cramps from the weekend’s yard work, and enjoyed the prettiest day I’ve seen in ages. Even got to chase a rabbit.

Life is good.

Finally got off my butt this week. Monday, my excuse is that it was cold and rainy. Weak, I know, but whadda you want for nothing? Tuesday – well, I decided to sleep in.

Today? I’d planned on not running, but it was my favorite kind of day: Chilly (~40 F), bluebird skies, and not a whole lot of wind. So I ran, and ran, and ran (~3 miles) and it felt good.

Been a slacker this week. Yesterday was cold and rainy. Today is blue skies and brisk. Think I’ll run at lunch.

Been gone a while.

Had a conference down at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Maryland. Stayed at the Motel 6 in Laurel. (Does the JHU APL tie qualify me for a Gmail account? Do I need to get geekier?)

There was a park at Savage Mills along the middle branch of the Pax river that was between the lab and the hotel. I stopped and pounded out about three miles each night.

Good times. The leaves were out down that way, and there were folks fishin’ for trout in the stream. Can’t be beat.

I also got to go wandering about DC late one night. Though I’m kind of freaked out that Justice Souter was assulted while jogging in DC this weekend.

Eh, I’m a slug. Didn’t get any mileage over the weekend, and wussed out this morning due to cold and rain. I need to stay motivated, need to put in some serious mileage this week.

Did the trails at Pequot Woods today. Got to love trail running in Connecticut. Not only do you get all the joys of running, like shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain, but also the opportunity to twist ankles, trip and bash one’s head open, and mud.

I had a huge grin the whole time.

Cycled this morning for the first time in a while. Rode up Military Highway north of the base, 11.3 miles round trip, 40 minutes. For those keeping score, that’s slow as crap.

But it was time back on the bike, which is time well spent. The “Out” part of the “out and back” route rocked – there was about a 10 MPH tailwind, so the average speed was somewhere upwards of 18 MPH. The way back – not so quick.

21 April 2004

Dragged myself out of bed early enough this morning to hit the road at about 0540. Made it to Newport in time to hit the road for about a 4 miler. If I’m going to get serious about running again, I need to start timing and measuring the runs, but for this summer, I think I may just take it as it comes.

That is, of course, if my application to run in the NYC Marathon gets declined. If it’s approved – well, then I’m in a world of hurt.